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ATHENS, GREECE — An FT report saying that the Greek vote is set to end in “stalemate” is the buzz of the moment.The gist is that the election could have a nightmare outcome, where still no party captures enough support so that a coalition government might be formed.
Remember, the whole reason Greece is voting right now is because this is what happened at the May 6 election.
But people here have been sceptical of this outcome. For one thing, the assumption is that the major parties will see some sort of coalescing of the vote, as voters who voted for fringe candidates last time choose between the majors. Beyond that, the pressure internally and externally to form a government fast is immense.
The FT report is probably accurate that neither of the top two parties (SYRIZA or New Democracy) can clear 30%, but if New Democracy and PASOK (the old mainstream liberal party that’s been relegated to 3rd party status) can get a combined 37% or so, they should be able to sneak into government. There are 300 seats in the Hellenic Parliament, and a coalition government would need 151 seats, but remember that whoever comes in 1st place gets a bonus 50 seats, which makes it so that nobody needs a real numerical majority of the popular vote.
Anything’s possible, and we’ll know more in just a few hours (12:00 PM ET is when the first exits come out), but… this probably isn’t the base case.
The most likely outcomes are: New Democracy wins and is able to cobble together a weak government or SYRIZA wins, and threatens to torpedo the entire bailout process.
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